Apple’s iPhone has done much to thrust touch screens firmly into the public’s consciousness – a place they seem certain to increasingly inhabit.
A report from ABI Research forecasts that revenue from the global touch screen market for smartphones and other handheld devices such as MIDs, UMPCs, and PNDs will reach USD $5 billion in 2009.
The top and bottom ends of the wireless handset markets are to enjoy the best growth rates over the next five years, according to researchers.
This will be at the expense of mid-range models, commonly called “enhanced” phones. The enhanced phone sector is currently the largest in terms of shipments, with 854 million units shipped in 2007.
But it will be overtaken by both other classes in 2013, with just 441 million shipping.
Kevin Burden, a director of ABI Research and author of the report “Mobile devices annual market overview”, said: “As we see more user sophistication and demand for high-end features, handset manufacturers will continue to push functions of high-level smartphone operating systems further down their product lines.
“Their smartphone portfolios will grow, and with them, the entire smartphone market.”
The report said this was seen as desireable by operators as well, who wanted more smartphone users because of the higher average revenue per user (ARPU) they generated.
Smaller than a notebook computer with a larger screen than a Smartphone – this is how the authors of research into Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) define them.
Consumers may still be relatively unaware of this emerging class of device, but that’s unlikely to be the case for long.
Global sales of MIDs expected to leap from 305,000 units shipped in 2008 to a projected 40 million in 2012, generating USD12 billion in revenue.
At least that’s the conclusion of a survey by semiconductor analysts Forward Concepts, which examined the market potential for MIDs and provided forecasts for both the devices and the integrated circuits that enable them.
It says that MIDs will have an unprecedented level of multimedia capabilities and typically will come in a tablet-like form factor.
“In our opinion, MIDs are not designed to replace mobile phones (or Smartphones) but to be used as companion devices,” the report states.